Babe by Michael Northrup
Published by J&L (2012)
Baltimore photographer Michael Northrup has been making gently humorous but decidedly jubilant color photographs of his daily life since the early 1970s. His 2004 J&L publication Beautiful Ecstasy depicted young families (Northrup’s own and those of friends) partying and performing for the camera, often in each other’s homes, bringing a beautifully understated formal elegance to moments of tender and chaotic everyday living. This sequel to Beautiful Ecstasy presents a further selection of previously unpublished photographs from the 1970s and 80s, all permeated with Northrup’s characteristic joie de vivre. Period details in furniture and clothing vividly resurrect the textures of these bygone moments; here, we also see young couples bringing children into their chaotic worlds, freighting these scenes of small town America with a powerful atmosphere of fragility and wonder.